Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world along with being the third largest. Despite having a strong belief that there is only one god, Hindus worship several deities that they think represent the one supreme being.
With the countless gods and goddesses involved in Hindu stories, it can be hard to follow who’s who and what are they known for. For this reason, we have compiled the most popular deities in Hindu scriptures.
Meet the different gods and goddesses of Hinduism right here at the Hindu Temple Society of Canada!
Indra is known as the king of heaven and the ruler of Devas. He is often depicted sitting atop a white elephant known as a Vahan. Another Vahan that is associated with Indra is the chariot drawn by 10,000 horses.
Indra is a representative of strength and courage and he is the son of Aditi and Sage Kashyap. Just like every other Hindu god, Indra also has a weapon represented by a thunderbolt and diamonds called Vajra.
He is known as a cunning god who often sends challenges and tribulations to his devotees in hopes of ruining their efforts to please the gods.
Hanuman is one of the most popular Hindu gods. He is described to have the appearance of both a monkey and a human. He is the son of two air deities named Pawan and Vayu.
Additionally, Hanuman is considered as one of the 8 immortal gods called Astachiranjiwi. His personality is a bit mischievous and playful. There is a story that when he was little, he tried to swallow the sun.
Due to this, he was punished and his powers were restricted until he met Ram and became a faithful devotee. He is a key character in Ramayana and became Ram’s ally in burning down Lanka, the king of Ravan’s kingdom.
His most famous deed is saving Lakshman by carrying the entire mountain of Sanjiwani Buti. Due to this, he is honoured as the symbol of the power of devotion.
Harihara is the embodiment of two supreme deities: Vishnu and Shiva. For this reason, Harihara is viewed by the devotees of Vishnu and Shiva as the supreme god who lords over everything.
He appears to be split down the middle with one of his sides having a blue complexion. Harihara wears tiger skin and his hair flows with water.
- Mahesh or Shiva
Shiva is known as the destroyer of the universe and is considered as part of the trinity of gods. Among the gods involved in the trinity, he is the only one who resides on Earth.
Despite having a reputation as a destroyer of the universe, Shiva is a peaceful god that guards meditation, yoga and art. He is also very simple and enjoys a life free of lavishness.